Things That I Would Like to Be Obsolete by Next School Year

I was reading TeachPaperless today and he posted the top 11 blogs from his archives for us new members. I was drawn to his post, 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020 and I was excited by his predictions, especially when I noticed that some of them were already obsolete in our school. (Namely; desks and fear of Wikipedia) However, there are some changes things in my school that I would like to see obsolete by next year. The list of Structural Innovation Schools for next year was just released and I was glad to see my school on the list. This means that we need to make some changes for next year. We intended to make many changes this year and we had a great plan but unfortunately, there are many things that never materialized so please bear with me as I begin my brainstorming list of ideas of things to get rid of that I am going to bring to the table when we begin to innovate our school.

1. Negative Attitudes: We need to stop saying it’s not going to work. We need to stop saying “we tried that in 1975 and it did not work”. How do we know if we have never tried? Times have changed, we need to give things another shot. Change will not happen in a positive way if all staff is not 100% on board. We will have some students that will be intimidated by the changes along with some parents and we can not reassure them if we do not believe in what we are doing.

Once that is done we can move on to the meat and potatoes.

2. One teacher, one classroom: We need to work in teams with two teacher, our teacher librarian and specialists. And those teachers need to share the same philosophy and really, really believe in the way they are teaching. Without a strong team, everything falls apart. Our students need to be in flexible groups working with teachers on specific and personalized projects.

3. The lack of available technology: We need to have technology available for every unit, activity, project we desire. I want to plan my class around my ideas not around the laptop schedule. In order for this to happen, see #4.

4. The fear of students breaking the internet: We need to let them use their iPods and laptops from home. We need to allow them access to the wireless password. They will not break the internet. Sites with mature content is filtered. Besides, if they really want to see a naked lady, all they need to do is look in those dusty National Geographics in the back of every library.

5. Classroom walls: We need to allow our students out of the classroom. They need places that they can gather and meet and hear themselves and each other speak. This needs to include the hallway, the library and in nice weather, outside. We also need to get rid of the school walls. They need to get out into the community and experience things.

6. Teacher generated projects and assignments: We need to work collaboratively with our students to see how they would like to learn and even what they would like to learn about. We are now of course restricted by the curriculum so perhaps we need to show the kids their options and gather suggestions on what they could do and explore to meet their learning requirements. Maybe that is how we begin the year: this is what we need to learn, how would you like to do it? Let’s brainstorm…hmmm, that is even more of an interesting idea than I originally thought.

7. Book reports, posters, dioramas and tests: There has to be more interesting ways for students to show what they know. Invent something, design something, create, demonstrate, experiment in front of each other and see what happens and what they can conclude from it. The possibilities are endless and so very exciting.

This is what I would like to see change for next year and I really and truly believe that it will happen because of the strong team in our school and the dedication and enthusiasm of all those that want it to. Come visit us next year to see how it all turns out!

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